KOLKATA: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is contemplating termination of services of medical officers who have not been turning up for duty at clinics run by the civic body during the COVID-19 crisis, a KMC official said on Sunday.
The chief municipal health officer (CMHO) of the KMC has written to Mayor Firhad Hakim, seeking approval for terminating the services of medical officers who have not been turning up for duty though the department had made arrangements for their travel or accomodation in the city.
Deputy mayor Atin Ghosh said that around 30 per cent of medical officers and paramedics are not turning up for duty at the KMC-run clinics.
There are 144 wards in the KMC and each ward has a clinic which is supposed to be attended by a doctor and paramedic staff.
On April 21, Ghosh had proposed to the Mayor to issue a "stern warning" to "such category of staff who have not risen to the occasion and have not undertaken duties in such times of emergency" and also suggested withholding of salaries of such staff for their respective period of absence.
However, since the medical officers continued to remain absent from duty, the CMHO sought approval from the Mayor for terminating the services of the errant doctors, in a letter written to him on April 25.
"A section of category A medical officers in service under the health department, KMC, have not undertaken their regular service, in spite of the health department being earmarked as an essential department, during the time of lockdown due to COVID-19." the letter said.
The CMHO's letter claimed that conveyance facilities to such staff had been arranged in view of the difficulties in commuting during the lockdown.
Arrangements were also made to provide hotel accomodation in the city to those who reside in far-off places.
Despite such steps, a section of the medical officers "have kept themselves away from regular service during this period of great stress, thereby causing great difficulty to the health department in maintaining continuity of public health service, despite its sincere effort to maintain the same," it said.